How Not to Talk about Illegal Immigration
Republican United States Senate candidate Richard Behney has been working on his stock answer to the question of illegal immigration.
First, in the Warsaw Senate debate, he implied, but stopped short of actually saying, that he would physically harm a metaphorical intruder “climbing through the back window” of his home instead of using the “front door.”
You know, there’s two facts about our country. One is, we are a nation of immigrants. That’s what makes us great. All different races, colors, cultures. We’re also a Republic of laws. And we live by the law. You know, if you come to my house, and the front light is on — the porch light’s on — you’re welcome. Come knock on the front door, open up, come on in. If I catch you climbing through the back window, in my house, I’m likely to, uh…we don’t need another YouTube moment but…you know, I don’t know what’s going on. You know, and while you’re in my house, I ask that you live by my house rules. And I would like that you speak English, thank you very much.
He then decided not to be so wishy-washy in the Huntington debate, saying that the metaphorical intruder is “likely to get shot,” and implying that said intruder wants to harm children.
I’m going to treat it like my house, folks. You know… you’re welcome to come in my front door anytime…but if I find you climbing in the back window, you’re likely to get shot. And if you hurt one of my kids, I am going to shoot you. And by the way, when you’re in my house, I expect you to obey the house rules and speak English.
This goes too far on a number of levels. Regardless of where you stand on the immigration debate, the fact remains that there are an estimated eleven to twenty million illegal immigrants living among us today. They’re not sneaking in the windows. They’re already here. They’re members of our communities. Most of them came here seeking employment. Most of them don’t want to hurt your children — they’re too busy taking care of their own. Most of them worship the same God we do. All of them were created in the image of that God. All of them deserve a certain level of respect by simple virtue of that fact.
If you want to deport them, fine. If you want them to have a path to citizenship, fine. We can have a debate about that. But please, don’t even joke about shooting them. I know that Mr. Behney has been a little trigger happy in the past, but I hope that he begins to tame his rhetoric soon. Even as a metaphor and a joke, this goes too far. We’re talking about human beings here.